Attract butterflies and butterflies

The majestic butterflies, with their colorful and unusually patterned wings, are a true natural wonder: in summer, the insects glide through the warm air and visit fragrant flowers of various ornamental plants and wildflowers. Despite their beauty and harmlessness, numerous butterflies are on the red list of endangered species in Germany because their natural habitats are destroyed by humans. Promote nature conservation and species diversity with a butterfly-friendly garden design. We explain how to support butterflies in an appropriate way and lure them into the garden.

Butterfly in the garden

Contents: Butterflies and butterflies in the garden

  • Why are many butterflies threatened?
  • Butterfly protection in the home garden
  • Wildflower meadow as a natural habitat
  • These plants like to fly butterflies
  • Attract butterflies with feeding places
  • Butterflies in the winter

Why are many butterflies threatened?

The majority of German butterflies are threatened with extinction. People are particularly responsible for this fate: By building residential areas, roads and using pesticides in agriculture, we take day and night butterflies to important habitats and food sources. The cultivation of monocultures makes it difficult for the insects to forage, so that the herbivorous offspring is no longer optimally cared for and eventually dies.

Also problematic is the currently widely cultivated BT maize. This GM maize has been modified to be toxic to many moth and butterfly species. Due to pollen, the insects inadvertently absorb toxic substances, which may affect their reproduction or lead to death. Many organizations want to raise awareness of this issue and ask them to report sighted butterflies online. This local butterfly observations help to respond to fluctuating population sizes and clarify causes, such as the use of environmental toxins or increased habitat destruction. Since butterflies are particularly sensitive to their environment, the dying of the animals is always a warning signal to humans.

In return, look for a butterfly-friendly garden design and support the beneficial insects that are very important to nature in their foraging and wintering.

Butterfly protection in the home garden

With around 200,000 species, the butterflies are the largest order of insects after the beetles, with about 4,000 species native to Germany. Only about five percent of these butterflies are among the butterflies, of which about 80% are on the list of endangered species! If you are an environmentally friendly garden owner, you should therefore also deal with the question of a possible butterfly protection.

Wildflower meadow as a natural habitat

A wildflower meadow serves as a natural habitat.

Wildflower meadow

There are several ways to promote the habitat of native butterfly species in the home garden. The first step is an animal-friendly, ie natural garden design, in which the insects find many nesting and hiding places. Many hobby gardeners are enthusiastic about the unusual flower shapes of exotic plants and are proud when such a specimen thrives in their garden. However, these plants often do not provide nectar to domestic butterflies, so the insects have to struggle with food shortages in the long term because the fascination with exotic fruits in the garden continues. Even special new breeds, which are particularly resistant or stunted, often develop significantly less nectar and thus food for the moths.

It is therefore particularly important to create natural areas where native wildflowers, weeds and regional plants thrive. Designate a rear garden area that may grow and thrive as a natural meadow. The wildflower meadow is only mowed twice a year, so that here numerous flowers and grasses arise, the butterflies and other beneficials in the garden lure.

Tip: Avoid the use of insecticides throughout the garden. These often kill not only pests, but decimate on contact also whole beneficial populations. If due to a very strong pest infestation, an application is no longer avoidable, please pay attention to the "bee friendly". These products should not be toxic to beneficials.

These plants like to fly butterflies

The peacock butterfly flies in addition to ornamental flowers and companion plants, such as nettles.

Peacock butterfly on flower

Not every plant is equally popular with butterflies: If the ornamental or crop flower forms too little nectar, the moth flies on. Other plants, on the other hand, are particularly important for the butterfly caterpillars, but not the adult insects, which feed on nectar rather than plant parts. On too Wildflowers and weedslike thistles or stinging nettles, the butterfly larvae of the admiral, the peacock's eye or the painted hair feel comfortable.

Continue to serve native woody plants and shrubs as a landing site and retreat from cold and winds. Here live individual species of butterflies on specific trees, so live the caterpillars of the lemon moth on the decay tree, while the offspring of the Great Schiller butterfly gray grazing prefer. But also crops are gladly accepted. So the larva of the swallowtail feeds on parsley or wild carrots and the caterpillar of the ox-eye on fresh grasses.

The leaves exotic plant species are inedible for the local butterflies and are therefore not chosen as a place of life. The exception is fuchsia: its leaves are eaten by the larvae of the mid-wine swarmers.

Did you know?

Over 80% of native butterflies are nocturnal. The moths oversleep the day and go on a search for fragrant flowers at night. Therefore, also plant some aromatic plants that develop their aroma only in the evening and at night. These include, for example, evening primrose, night carnation and the honeysuckle or pitcher sedge.

Attract butterflies with feeding places

Butterflies are attracted to butterflies and sweet fruits.

Attract moths

Butterflies love sweet fruits and sugar water. You can take advantage of this knowledge and set up specific feeding stations in the garden. Particularly suitable are raised stalks on which the butterflies can land easily, such as on a stump or small, unused garden table. When choosing a location, you should prefer sunny, sheltered garden areas where the insects can warm, recover and undisturbed in the sunshine.

Danger: Sugary food also attracts wasps. For safety reasons please keep a sufficient distance to the terrace.

In the shell you can exotic, juicy fruits offer, such as orange slices or already slightly older, soft bananas. Cut the fruit into slices or slices and spread several pieces of fruit on the plate to reduce the pressure of competition. Over-ripe fallen fruit will also be accepted in autumn.

Also popular are sugary liquids that are separated on a flat saucer on the feeding station. For example, mix Malt beer with honey or only Water with sugar and a pinch of salt, Many day and night butterflies will gratefully accept this additional food source and dust many plants when they visit the garden.

Butterflies in the winter

Many butterflies mate in the winter.


Some butterfly species fly to the south in autumn, some even to North Africa. Before these animals begin the long journey, they strengthen themselves on over-ripe Fallobst, from which they suck the sweet fruit juice.

Nevertheless, many butterflies hibernate in Germany. Peacock peacocks and the small fox are very sensitive to cold and seek protection in tool sheds, garages or attics. Here they fall into a cold starry until spring, to save important resources and survive unscathed for a long time. Other butterflies overwinter on branches and leaves. To provide these animals a shelter, you can leave old clippings in autumn as a pile of rice or collapse fallen leaves to a mountain. Late cutting measures should be avoided, since now often pupated butterflies hang in hedges and shrubs and wait for spring.

By the way: The Brimstone is a unique survivalist. His blood contains antifreeze, which prevents him from freezing. In this way, it can withstand temperatures down to -20° C without damage.

Video Board: 10 plants that attract butterflies - Gardening QuickTips Episode 1